Water: what are the challenges for the 21st century?


On 26 April, UCLouvain will host a multidisciplinary symposium on water organised by the Louvain4water consortium. Scientists from the seven partner universities of the Circle U. Alliance will present their research.

Water-related challenges are multidimensional and closely linked to many other aspects of sustainable development. Addressing these complex challenges requires the expertise of several scientific disciplines. At UCLouvain, the Louvain4water transdisciplinary consortium has been working on issues related to water management and access since 2015. Its researchers, in the fields of science and technology as well as health and human sciences, carry out research in the North and the South, organise advanced training programmes, and offer services in the field of water.

The Circle U. Alliance,* which brings together seven universities, including UCLouvain, in the ‘European University’ project, also has considerable multidisciplinary expertise in this field: nearly 200 scientists work on water-related issues.

Thus Louvain4water and Circle U. have naturally joined forces to organise a multidisciplinary symposium on 26 April devoted to the challenges of the 21st century in the field of water. The issue of water will be tackled from several angles, particularly those of climate and global health, two of the three themes of the ‘knowledge hubs’ that Circle U. has chosen to establish (the third theme being democracy).

Symposium objectives will be to map the expertise of Circle U. universities and their partners in the field of water, strengthen collaborations within the alliance, and draw up a first roadmap of actions to be carried out. During the day, presented by Elisabetta Balzi, Healthy Oceans and Seas director at the European Commission’s DG Research and Innovation, researchers in several disciplines will present their research findings.

The full symposium programme can be found on the event’s webpage. Anyone interested in water issues is welcome to attend.

The symposium, which is free of charge but requires registration, will be held in English via video conference.

The symposium will close with a screening of the gorgeous documentary film ‘Dive: Rituals in Water’, which had been scheduled originally as part of the Go Future festival but was postponed due to health measures. Information and registration.


*University of Paris, University of Oslo, Humboldt University of Berlin, King’s College London, University of Belgrade, Aarhus University, UCLouvain.

Published on April 07, 2021